June 25th, 2024

Fundraiser helping put shovels in the ground for Nigerian youth centre


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on November 19, 2022.

Submitted photo Children gather around the computer lab in the recently finished school in Ogan, Nigeria. The women and youth centre is the second part of the project for which funds are being collected in Lethbridge.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge resident is hoping to gather enough funds to continue a project in the village of Ogan, Nigeria, this time through a Dessert and Piano social gathering tonight.

After a successful charity project completed last summer in the village of Ogan, Lethbridge resident Fola Soboyejo is hoping to collect enough funds to kick start his latest project, the Ogan Women and Youth Centre which will be a community-owned and operated facility featuring after-school programming, health liaisons, training, recreation and more.

The Ogan Women and Youth Centre project is estimated to cost a total of $150,000 by the time it is completed. Soboyego said the project will be done in stages, and the first thing they need to complete is the foundation which has an estimated price of $18,500.

The project is being divided into one-square-meter plots that people can purchase, with each valued at $1000.

“The $1,000 can be contributed or donated at once, or progressively and for each square that you buy or you invest in to support those who are in need, will have an inscription of your name so that they know who built this building,” said Soboyejo.

He said any donation $25 and up will receive a tax receipt from their umbrella charity organization Bridges of Hope.

He said the project is now in the first stages, with topographic surveys being completed in the near future, once it stops raining as the roads are hard to access during the rainy season. But they should be completed by the end of the month.

“We are now going into final design details, to have a topographic survey to take advantage of the sloping ground that we have there without having to disturb the ground,” said Soboyejo.

He said after the survey is finalized, the information will be received here in Lethbridge by their project design sponsor Alvin Fritz, and then they can start digging up the soil to begin the foundation.

Soboyejo has had some help from the community to raise the funds needed so far, with the most recent one being a concert in June offered at Southminster United Church.

This time he is hoping to gather even more support from the community through the Dessert and Piano Social at St. Augustine’s Church Hall where those in attendance can enjoy an evening of piano playing by local pianist James Moore and the sound of local vocalist Temi Soboyejo while enjoying African desserts.

Soboyejo is being joined by local Soup Kitchen executive director Bill Ginther, who said he is known for being able to get people to reach into their pockets and donate.

“Money that we raise here is probably worth quadruple the value there. A project like the one we are talking about here it’s only $150,000, you can’t do a small addition to your house for that, so we look at it this way that our dollars are magnified by the fact that it’s in another setting, another part of the world and projects like this wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of folks from an international level,” said Ginther.

He said they are hoping to have 125 people but are happy to add more chairs if needed.

The free event will take place tonight at 7:30 at St. Augustine Church Hall at 411 11 Street South.

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